If you are planning a trip to Rann of Kutch, Bhuj will most likely be your first point of entry into the region. The city is well connected by air, train and road to most major cities within Gujarat and India.
Whether Bhuj is your primary place of stay or it is your stopover to or from the Rann of Kutch, here are a list of things you can do in Bhuj in one day :
1. Visit “Chhatedi”
A little known attraction, this was the first place we visited in Bhuj. With a board hung on the gate that said “Open from Sunrise to Sunset”, we weren’t sure what to expect.
We entered an unassuming site, large parts of its structures and monuments broken and lying in shambles and restorative work going on in some sections. As we walked our way through the site protected under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) , we noticed several pillared domes dotting the area and stone slabs protruding from the ground with images of people on horseback carved onto them. Far ahead stood an imposing structure, a majestic pillared complex with an arch entrance. We could not find much information about the place, other than the fact that it was a burial ground for the royal family of Bhuj.
Though the place now lies in disarray, post the 2001 earthquake, the ornate domes (one of the domes has something like Meenakari work), stonework and cenotaphs speak volumes about the architectural excellence and former grandeur of the site.
2. Visit Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal
This was the palace of the Royal family and like many other structures in Bhuj, stands tall but in a dilapidated condition post the earthquake. The facade and the interiors clearly have a Gothic and Italian influence in their architecture. The clock tower has been restored and is now open to public from where you can get a panoramic view of the city of Bhuj.
TTH Tip: Both the Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal are open
only from 9 am to 12 pm and then from 3 pm to 6 pm,
so plan to visit as soon as it opens, because afternoons
and weekends get crowded !
3. Trek up Bhujia hill and watch the sunset from Bhujiyo Fort
If you’re up for some trekking, climb up the steep hill of Bhujia in the evening and relax on the walls of the Bhujiyo Fort to catch a beautiful sunset against the backdrop of the city. The walk up is steep, so make sure you leave some time spare before the sunset, just in case you need to stop to to catch a few breaths !
4. Shop at the local markets
When you are in the land of the arts and handicrafts, how can you not shop? Stroll through the local markets in Bhuj (Bhuj Haat, Old city market Shroff Bazaar) and splurge on those tie and dye shawls, ajrakh kurtas, handmade torans and tiny trinkets to take home as souvenirs.
**PS : Forgot to take photos, was too busy shopping ! 😛
5. Visit Bhujodi/Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft park and Vande Mataram memorial
The Vande Mataram Memorial is the tourist hotspot in Bhuj, located at Bhujodi. The memorial seeks to immortalize India’s freedom struggle and has been constructed to look like the “Sansad Bhavan”/ “Parliament” in New Delhi. The main attraction here is the “Vande Mataram museum”. The 1.5 hour museum tour is the first of a kind 4D audio visual museum in India which depicts the Indian Freedom struggle. Tickets are price reasonably ( Rs. 100/- for the park + museum and Rs.50/- for the park only). Tickets to the museum tour get sold out on weekends, so get there early if you plan to visit the museum.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the museum tour like us, you can instead walk around the immaculately maintained park, hop into the the several handicraft stalls and finally relax yourself on the lawns for the “Facade show” at 8 pm. It is a 15 minute light and sound show that gets projected onto the facade of the Sansad Bhavan building and beautifully shows the diversity and culture of the country.
TTH Recommends in Bhuj :
1) Visit the Chhatedi to experience beauty in ruins.
2) Shop at the local markets for local arts and handicrafts.
3) Watch an everyday sunset become more magical against a
magnificient city backdrop from the Bhujiyo fort.
Other places of interest (if you have more than 24 hours) :
1) Museums in Bhuj
2) Sharadbaug Palace
3) Swaminarayan Temple